Capua
Overview
 
Capua is a city and comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in the province of Caserta
Province of Caserta
The Province of Caserta is a province in the Campania region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Caserta. The former royal palace of Caserta is located near to the city.It has an area of 2,639 km², and a total population of 879,342...

, Campania
Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

, southern Italy, situated 25 km (16 mi) north of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Santa Maria Capua Vetere
-External links:*...

 is now. The modern town of Capua was founded after the ancient one had been destroyed by the Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s in 841 AD.
The name of Capua comes from the Etruscan
Etruscan language
The Etruscan language was spoken and written by the Etruscan civilization, in what is present-day Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria and in parts of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna...

 Capeva. The meaning is 'City of Marshes'. Its foundation is attributed by Cato the Elder
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

 to the Etruscans
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

, and the date given as about 260 years before it was "taken" by Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

.
Encyclopedia
Capua is a city and comune
Comune
In Italy, the comune is the basic administrative division, and may be properly approximated in casual speech by the English word township or municipality.-Importance and function:...

in the province of Caserta
Province of Caserta
The Province of Caserta is a province in the Campania region of Italy. Its capital is the city of Caserta. The former royal palace of Caserta is located near to the city.It has an area of 2,639 km², and a total population of 879,342...

, Campania
Campania
Campania is a region in southern Italy. The region has a population of around 5.8 million people, making it the second-most-populous region of Italy; its total area of 13,590 km² makes it the most densely populated region in the country...

, southern Italy, situated 25 km (16 mi) north of Naples
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, on the northeastern edge of the Campanian plain. Ancient Capua was situated where Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Santa Maria Capua Vetere
-External links:*...

 is now. The modern town of Capua was founded after the ancient one had been destroyed by the Saracen
Saracen
Saracen was a term used by the ancient Romans to refer to a people who lived in desert areas in and around the Roman province of Arabia, and who were distinguished from Arabs. In Europe during the Middle Ages the term was expanded to include Arabs, and then all who professed the religion of Islam...

s in 841 AD.

Ancient era

The name of Capua comes from the Etruscan
Etruscan language
The Etruscan language was spoken and written by the Etruscan civilization, in what is present-day Italy, in the ancient region of Etruria and in parts of Lombardy, Veneto, and Emilia-Romagna...

 Capeva. The meaning is 'City of Marshes'. Its foundation is attributed by Cato the Elder
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

 to the Etruscans
Etruscan civilization
Etruscan civilization is the modern English name given to a civilization of ancient Italy in the area corresponding roughly to Tuscany. The ancient Romans called its creators the Tusci or Etrusci...

, and the date given as about 260 years before it was "taken" by Rome
Rome
Rome is the capital of Italy and the country's largest and most populated city and comune, with over 2.7 million residents in . The city is located in the central-western portion of the Italian Peninsula, on the Tiber River within the Lazio region of Italy.Rome's history spans two and a half...

. If this is true it refers not to its capture in the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 (211 BC) but to its submission to Rome in 338 BC, placing the date of foundation at about 600 BC, while Etruscan power was at its highest. In the area several settlements of the Villanovian civilization were present in prehistoric times, and these were probably enlarged by the Oscans and subsequently by the Etruscans.

Etruscan supremacy in Campania came to an end with the Samnite
Samnium
Samnium is a Latin exonym for a region of south or south and central Italy in Roman times. The name survives in Italian today, but today's territory comprising it is only a small portion of what it once was. The populations of Samnium were called Samnites by the Romans...

 invasion in the latter half of the 5th century BC.

About 424 BC it was captured by the Samnites and in 343 BC besought Roman help against its conquerors. Capua entered into alliance with Rome for protection against the Samnite mountain tribes, along with its dependent communities Casilinum
Casilinum
Casilinum , an ancient city of Campania, Italy, 3 m. NW of the ancient Capua. Its position at the point of junction of the Via Appia and Via Latina, and at their crossing of the river Volturnus by a three-arched bridge, which still exists, gave it considerable importance under the Roman republic;...

, Calatia
Calatia
Calatia was an ancient town of Campania, southern Italy, c. 10 km southeast of Capua, on the Via Appia, near the point where the Via Popillia branches off from it. It is represented by the church of Giacomo alle Galazze...

, Atella
Atella
Atella was an ancient city of Campania, halfway between Naples and Capua; its ruins lie between the towns of Orta di Atella and Sant'Arpino. Atella is not mentioned until the Second Punic War, when, although an independent city striking its own coinage, it was allied with Capua and the other...

, so that the greater part of Campania now fell under Roman supremacy. The citizens of Capua received the civitas sine suffragio, citizenship without the vote.

In the second Samnite War with Rome, Capua proved an untrustworthy Roman ally, so that after the defeat of the Samnites, the Ager Falerus on the right bank of the Volturnus
Volturno
The Volturno is a river in south-central Italy.-Geography:It rises in the Abruzzese central Apennines of Samnium near Rocchetta a Volturno and flows southeast as far as its junction with the Calore River near Caiazzo and runs south as far as Venafro, and then turns southwest, past Capua, to...

 was confiscated. In 318 BC the powers of the native officials (meddices) were limited by the appointment of officials with the title praefecti Capuam Cumas (taking their name from the most important towns of Campania); these were at first mere deputies of the praetor urbanus, but after 123 BC were elected Roman magistrates, four in number; they governed the whole of Campania until the time of Augustus, when they were abolished. It was the capital of Campania Felix.

In 312 BC, Capua was connected with Rome by the construction of the Via Appia
Appian Way
The Appian Way was one of the earliest and strategically most important Roman roads of the ancient republic. It connected Rome to Brindisi, Apulia, in southeast Italy...

, the most important of the military highways of Italy. The gate by which it left the Servian walls of Rome bore the name Porta Capena
Porta Capena
The Porta Capena was a gate in the Servian Wall near the Caelian Hill, in Rome, Italy according to Roman tradition the sacred grove where Numa Pompilius and the nymph Egeria used to meet. It was one of the main entries to the city of Rome, since it opened on the Appian Way...

; perhaps the only case in which a gate in this enceinte bears the name of the place to which it led. At what time the Via Latina
Via Latina
The Via Latina was a Roman road of Italy, running southeast from Rome for about 200 kilometers.It led from the Porta Latina in the Aurelian walls of Rome to the pass of Mons Algidus; it was important in the early military history of Rome...

 was stretched to Casilinum is doubtful (it is quite possible that it was done when Capua fell under Roman supremacy, i.e. before the construction of the Via Appia); it afforded a route only 10 km (6 mi) longer, and the difficulties with its construction were much less; it also avoided the troublesome journey through the Pontine Marshes
Pontine Marshes
thumb|250px|Lake Fogliano, a coastal lagoon in the Pontine Plain.The Pontine Marshes, termed in Latin Pomptinus Ager by Titus Livius, Pomptina Palus and Pomptinae Paludes by Pliny the Elder, today the Agro Pontino in Italian, is an approximately quadrangular area of former marshland in the Lazio...

.

The importance of Capua increased steadily during the 3rd century BC, and at the beginning of the Second Punic War
Second Punic War
The Second Punic War, also referred to as The Hannibalic War and The War Against Hannibal, lasted from 218 to 201 BC and involved combatants in the western and eastern Mediterranean. This was the second major war between Carthage and the Roman Republic, with the participation of the Berbers on...

 it was considered to be only slightly behind Rome and Carthage
Carthage
Carthage , implying it was a 'new Tyre') is a major urban centre that has existed for nearly 3,000 years on the Gulf of Tunis, developing from a Phoenician colony of the 1st millennium BC...

 themselves, and was able to furnish 30,000 infantry and 4,000 cavalry. Until after the defeat of Cannae
Battle of Cannae
The Battle of Cannae was a major battle of the Second Punic War, which took place on August 2, 216 BC near the town of Cannae in Apulia in southeast Italy. The army of Carthage under Hannibal decisively defeated a numerically superior army of the Roman Republic under command of the consuls Lucius...

 it remained faithful to Rome, but, after a vain demand that one of the consuls should always be selected from it or perhaps in order to secure regional supremacy in the event of a Carthaginian victory, it defected to Hannibal, who made it his winter quarters: he and his army were voluntarily received by Capua. Livy
Livy
Titus Livius — known as Livy in English — was a Roman historian who wrote a monumental history of Rome and the Roman people. Ab Urbe Condita Libri, "Chapters from the Foundation of the City," covering the period from the earliest legends of Rome well before the traditional foundation in 753 BC...

 and others have suggested that the luxurious conditions were Hannibal's "Cannae" because his troops became soft and demoralized by luxurious living. Historians from Bosworth Smith onwards have been skeptical of this, observing that his troops gave as good an account of themselves in battle after that winter as before. After a long siege, it was taken by the Romans in 211 BC and severely punished (Second Battle of Capua); its magistrates and communal organization were abolished, the inhabitants who weren't killed lost their civic rights, and its territory was declared ager publicus (Roman state domain). Parts of it were sold in 205 BC and 199 BC, another part was divided among the citizens of the new colonies of Volturnum and Liternum
Liternum
Liternum was an ancient town of Campania, Italy, on the low sandy coast between Cumae and the mouth of the Volturnus. It was probably once dependent on Cumae. In 194 BC it became a Roman colony....

, established near the coast in 194 BC, but the greater portion of it was reserved to be let by the state.

Considerable difficulties occurred in preventing illegal encroachments by private persons, and it became necessary to buy a number of them out in 162 BC. It was, after that period, let, not to large but to small proprietors. Frequent attempts were made by the democratic leaders to divide the land among new settlers. Brutus
Brutus
Brutus is the cognomen of the Roman gens Junia, a prominent family of the Roman Republic. The plural of Brutus is Bruti, and the vocative form is Brute, as immortalized in the quotation "Et tu, Brute?", from Shakespeare's play, Julius Caesar....

 in 83 BC actually succeeded in establishing a colony, but it was soon dissolved; and Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

's speeches De Lege Agrania were directed against a similar attempt by Servilius Rullus
Servilius Rullus
Publius Servilius Rullus Roman tribune of the people in 63 BC, proposed one of the most far-reaching agrarian laws brought forward in Roman history....

 in 63 BC.

In the meantime the necessary organization of the inhabitants of this thickly populated district was in a measure supplied by grouping them round important shrines, especially that of Diana Tifatina, in connection with which a pagus Dianae existed, as we learn from many inscriptions; a pagus Herculaneus is also known.

The town of Capua belonged to none of these organizations, and was entirely dependent on the praefecti. It enjoyed great prosperity, however, due to their growing of spelt
Spelt
Spelt is a hexaploid species of wheat. Spelt was an important staple in parts of Europe from the Bronze Age to medieval times; it now survives as a relict crop in Central Europe and northern Spain and has found a new market as a health food. Spelt is sometimes considered a subspecies of the...

, a grain that was put into groats
Groats
Groats are the hulled grains of various cereals, such as oats, wheat, barley or buckwheat . Groats are whole grains that include the cereal germ and fiber-rich bran portion of the grain as well as the endosperm...

, wine, roses, spices, unguent
Unguent
An unguent is a soothing preparation spread on wounds, burns, rashes, abrasions or other topical injuries . It is similar to an ointment, though typically an unguent is less viscous and more oily....

s etc., and also owing to its manufacture, especially of bronze objects, of which both the elder Cato
Cato the Elder
Marcus Porcius Cato was a Roman statesman, commonly referred to as Censorius , Sapiens , Priscus , or Major, Cato the Elder, or Cato the Censor, to distinguish him from his great-grandson, Cato the Younger.He came of an ancient Plebeian family who all were noted for some...

 and the elder Pliny
Pliny the Elder
Gaius Plinius Secundus , better known as Pliny the Elder, was a Roman author, naturalist, and natural philosopher, as well as naval and army commander of the early Roman Empire, and personal friend of the emperor Vespasian...

 speak in the highest terms.

Its luxury remained proverbial; and Campania is especially spoken of as the home of gladiator
Gladiator
A gladiator was an armed combatant who entertained audiences in the Roman Republic and Roman Empire in violent confrontations with other gladiators, wild animals, and condemned criminals. Some gladiators were volunteers who risked their legal and social standing and their lives by appearing in the...

ial combats. From the gladiatorial schools of Campania came Spartacus
Spartacus
Spartacus was a famous leader of the slaves in the Third Servile War, a major slave uprising against the Roman Republic. Little is known about Spartacus beyond the events of the war, and surviving historical accounts are sometimes contradictory and may not always be reliable...

 and his followers in 73 BC. Julius Caesar
Julius Caesar
Gaius Julius Caesar was a Roman general and statesman and a distinguished writer of Latin prose. He played a critical role in the gradual transformation of the Roman Republic into the Roman Empire....

 as consul
Consul
Consul was the highest elected office of the Roman Republic and an appointive office under the Empire. The title was also used in other city states and also revived in modern states, notably in the First French Republic...

 in 59 BC succeeded in carrying out the establishment of a Roman colony under the name Julia Felix in connection with his agrarian law, and 20,000 Roman citizens were settled in this territory.

The number of colonists was increased by Mark Antony
Mark Antony
Marcus Antonius , known in English as Mark Antony, was a Roman politician and general. As a military commander and administrator, he was an important supporter and loyal friend of his mother's cousin Julius Caesar...

, Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

 (who constructed an aqueduct
Aqueduct
An aqueduct is a water supply or navigable channel constructed to convey water. In modern engineering, the term is used for any system of pipes, ditches, canals, tunnels, and other structures used for this purpose....

 from the Mons Tifata and gave the town of Capua estates in the district of Knossos
Knossos
Knossos , also known as Labyrinth, or Knossos Palace, is the largest Bronze Age archaeological site on Crete and probably the ceremonial and political centre of the Minoan civilization and culture. The palace appears as a maze of workrooms, living spaces, and store rooms close to a central square...

 in Crete
Crete
Crete is the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, the fifth largest island in the Mediterranean Sea, and one of the thirteen administrative regions of Greece. It forms a significant part of the economy and cultural heritage of Greece while retaining its own local cultural traits...

 valued at 12 million sesterces
Sestertius
The sestertius, or sesterce, was an ancient Roman coin. During the Roman Republic it was a small, silver coin issued only on rare occasions...

) and Nero
Nero
Nero , was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death....

.

In the war of 69 it took the side of Vitellius
Vitellius
Vitellius , was Roman Emperor for eight months, from 16 April to 22 December 69. Vitellius was acclaimed Emperor following the quick succession of the previous emperors Galba and Otho, in a year of civil war known as the Year of the Four Emperors...

. Under the later empire it is not often mentioned; but in the 4th century it was the seat of the consularis Campaniae and its chief town, though Ausonius
Ausonius
Decimius Magnus Ausonius was a Latin poet and rhetorician, born at Burdigala .-Biography:Decimius Magnus Ausonius was born in Bordeaux in ca. 310. His father was a noted physician of Greek ancestry and his mother was descended on both sides from long-established aristocratic Gallo-Roman families...

 puts it behind Mediolanum (Milan
Milan
Milan is the second-largest city in Italy and the capital city of the region of Lombardy and of the province of Milan. The city proper has a population of about 1.3 million, while its urban area, roughly coinciding with its administrative province and the bordering Province of Monza and Brianza ,...

) and Aquileia
Aquileia
Aquileia is an ancient Roman city in what is now Italy, at the head of the Adriatic at the edge of the lagoons, about 10 km from the sea, on the river Natiso , the course of which has changed somewhat since Roman times...

 in his ordo nobilium urbium
Ordo urbium nobilium
Ordo Urbium Nobilium is a prose text by Decimus Magnus Ausonius.It was written after a journey Ausonius took through the Roman empire between years 388 and 390.The book listed brief descriptions of the major cities of the Roman State....

.

Middle Ages

See also Principality of Capua
Principality of Capua
The Principality of Capua was a Lombard state in Southern Italy, usually de facto independent, but under the varying suzerainty of Western and Eastern Roman Empires. It was originally a gastaldate, then a county, within the principality of Salerno....

.

Under Constantine we hear of the foundation of a Christian church in Capua. In 456 it was taken and destroyed by the Vandals under Gaiseric, but must have been soon rebuilt.

During the Gothic War
Gothic War
Gothic War can refer to several periods of warfare between the Roman empire and the Goths, including:*Gothic War – Greuthungs and Thervings against the Eastern Roman Empire*Gothic War – Visigoths against the Western Roman Empire...

 Capua suffered greatly. When the Lombards
Lombards
The Lombards , also referred to as Longobards, were a Germanic tribe of Scandinavian origin, who from 568 to 774 ruled a Kingdom in Italy...

 invaded Italy
Italy
Italy , officially the Italian Republic languages]] under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages. In each of these, Italy's official name is as follows:;;;;;;;;), is a unitary parliamentary republic in South-Central Europe. To the north it borders France, Switzerland, Austria and...

 in the second half of the 6th century, Capua was ravaged; later, it was included in the Duchy of Benevento
Duchy of Benevento
The Duchy and later Principality of Benevento was the southernmost Lombard duchy in medieval Italy, centred on Benevento, a city central in the Mezzogiorno. Owing to the Ducatus Romanus of the popes, which cut it off from the rest of Lombard Italy, Benevento was from the first practically...

, and ruled by an official styled gastald
Gastald
A gastald was a Lombard official in charge of some portion of the royal demesne with civil, martial, and judicial powers. By the Edictum Rothari of 643, the gastalds were given the civil authority in the cities and the reeves the like authority in the countryside...

.

In 839, the prince of Benevento, Sicard
Sicard of Benevento
Sicard was the Prince of Benevento from 832. He was the last prince of a united Benevento which covered most of the Mezzogiorno. On his death, the principality descended into civil war which split it permanently...

, was assassinated by Radelchis I of Benevento
Radelchis I of Benevento
Radelchis I was the treasurer, then prince of Benevento from 839, when he assumed the throne upon the assassination of Sicard and imprisonment of Sicard's brother, Siconulf, to his death, though in his time the principality was divided.According to the Chronica S...

, who took over the throne. Sicard's brother Siconulf was proclaimed independent prince in Salerno and the gastald of Capua declared himself independent.

In 841, the ancient Capua was burned to the ground by a band of Saracens paid by Radelchis, with only the church of Santa Maria Maggiore (founded about 497) remaining. A new city was built in 856, but at some distance from the former site, where another town later appeared under the name of Santa Maria Capua Vetere
Santa Maria Capua Vetere
-External links:*...

 ("Capua the Old").

Prince Atenulf I
Atenulf I of Capua
Atenulf I , called the Great , was the prince of Capua from 7 January 887 and of Benevento from 899, when he conquered that principality...

 conquered Benevento in 900 and united the principalities until 981, when Pandulf Ironhead
Pandulf Ironhead
Pandulf I Ironhead was the Prince of Benevento and Capua from 943 until his death. He was made Duke of Spoleto and Camerino in 967 and succeeded as Prince of Salerno in 977 or 978...

 separated in his will for his children. Capua eclipsed Benevento thereafter and became the chief rival of Salerno. Under Pandulf IV
Pandulf IV of Capua
Pandulf IV was the Prince of Capua on three separate occasions.From February 1016 to 1022 he ruled in association with his cousin Pandulf II. In 1018, the Byzantine catapan Boiannes destroyed the Lombard army of Melus of Bari and his Norman allies at Cannae...

, the principality brought in the aid of the Normans
Normans
The Normans were the people who gave their name to Normandy, a region in northern France. They were descended from Norse Viking conquerors of the territory and the native population of Frankish and Gallo-Roman stock...

 and, for a while had the loyalty of Rainulf Drengot
Rainulf Drengot
Rainulf Drengot was a Norman adventurer and the first count of Aversa .When one of Rainulf's numerous brothers, Osmond, was exiled by Richard I of Normandy for the murder of one of his kin, Rainulf, Osmond, and their brothers Gilbert Buatère, Asclettin , and Raulf went on a pilgrimage to the...

, until the latter abandoned him to aid the deposed Sergius IV of Naples
Sergius IV of Naples
Sergius IV was Duke of Naples from 1002 to 1036. He was one of the prime catalysts in the growth of Norman power in the Mezzogiorno in the first half of the eleventh century...

 take back his city, annexed by Pandulf in 1027.

Upon Pandulf's death, Capua fell to his weaker sons and, in 1058, the city itself fell in a siege to Rainulf's nephew Richard I
Richard I of Capua
Richard I Drengot was a count of Aversa and prince of Capua .He was the son of Asclettin, count of Acerenza, younger brother of Asclettin, count of Aversa, and nephew of Rainulf Drengot, the Norman adventurer who had first travelled to southern Italy in 1017 and progressed to set up the first...

, who took the title Prince of Aversa. For seven years (1091–1098), Richard II
Richard II of Capua
Richard II , called the Bald, was the count of Aversa and the prince of Capua from 1090 or 1091.The eldest son and successor of Jordan I of Capua and Gaitelgrima, daughter of Prince Guaimar IV of Salerno, he was named after his grandfather, Richard I of Capua...

 was exiled from his city, but with the aid of his relatives, he retook the city after a siege in 1098
Siege of Capua
The Siege of Capua was a military operation involving the states of medieval southern Italy, beginning in May 1098 and lasting forty days. It was an interesting siege historically for the assemblage of great persons it saw and militarily for the cooperation of Norman and Saracen forces which it...

. His dynasty lived on as princes of Capua until the last claimant of their line died in 1156 and the principality was definitively united to the kingdom of Sicily
Kingdom of Sicily
The Kingdom of Sicily was a state that existed in the south of Italy from its founding by Roger II in 1130 until 1816. It was a successor state of the County of Sicily, which had been founded in 1071 during the Norman conquest of southern Italy...

. Hereafter, Capua is no longer the capital of a larger principality, but a minor city in an important kingdom.

Modern age

The Battle of Volturnus (1860)
Battle of Volturnus (1860)
The Battle of Volturnus or Volturno refers to a series of military clashes between Giuseppe Garibaldi's volunteers and the troops of the Kingdom of Two Sicilies occurred around the river Volturno, in northern Campania, in September and October 1860...

, at the conclusion of Garibaldi's Expedition of the Thousand
Expedition of the Thousand
The Expedition of the Thousand was a military campaign led by the revolutionary general Giuseppe Garibaldi in 1860. A force of volunteers defeated the Kingdom of the Two Sicilies, leading to its dissolution and annexation by the Kingdom of Sardinia, an important step in the creation of a newly...

, partially took place in and around Capua. Prior to the battle, the Neapolitan army – defeated in earlier engagements – was rebuilt in Capua under marshal Giosuè Ritucci. After fighting elsewhere in which the Neapolitans were ultimately defeated, the last of them – c. 3,000 troops Colonel Perrone – were holed up in Capua. The city was attacked by the Garibaldines and one Piedmontese regular Bersaglieri battalion, and captured. In the referendum several months later, its inhabitants voted overwhelmingly to join the new Kingdom of Italy
Kingdom of Italy (1861–1946)
The Kingdom of Italy was a state forged in 1861 by the unification of Italy under the influence of the Kingdom of Sardinia, which was its legal predecessor state...

.

Remains

No pre-Roman remains have been found within the town of Capua itself, but important cemeteries have been discovered on all sides of it, the earliest of which go back to the 7th
7th century BC
The 7th century BC started the first day of 700 BC and ended the last day of 601 BC.The Assyrian Empire continued to dominate the Near East during this century, exercising formidable power over neighbors like Babylon and Egypt. In the last two decades of the century, however, the empire began to...

 or 6th century BC.

The tombs are of various forms, partly chambers with fresco
Fresco
Fresco is any of several related mural painting types, executed on plaster on walls or ceilings. The word fresco comes from the Greek word affresca which derives from the Latin word for "fresh". Frescoes first developed in the ancient world and continued to be popular through the Renaissance...

es on the walls, partly cubical blocks of peperino
Peperino
Peperino is an Italian name applied to a brown or grey volcanic tuff, containing fragments of basalt and limestone, with disseminated crystals of augite, mica, magnetite, leucite, and other similar minerals...

, hollowed out, with grooved lids. The objects found within them consist mainly of vases of bronze (many of them without feet, and with incised designs of Etruscan style) and of clay, some of Greek, some of local manufacture, and of paintings. On the east of the town, in the Patturelli property, a temple has been discovered with Oscan votive inscriptions originally thought to be Oscan, now recognized as Etruscan, some of them inscribed upon terracotta tablets, the most famous of which is the Tabula Capuana
Tabula Capuana
The Tabula Capuana , now conserved in Berlin, represents the second most extensive surviving Etruscan text, after the linen book the used in Egypt for mummy wrappings, now at Zagreb...

, conserved in Berlin, still, after more than a century of searching, the second-longest Etruscan text. Other brief inscriptions are on cippi. A group of 150 tuff
Tuff
Tuff is a type of rock consisting of consolidated volcanic ash ejected from vents during a volcanic eruption. Tuff is sometimes called tufa, particularly when used as construction material, although tufa also refers to a quite different rock. Rock that contains greater than 50% tuff is considered...

 statuettes represent a matron holding one or more children in her lap: three bore Latin inscriptions of the early Imperial
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 period.

The site of the town being in a perfectly flat plain, without natural defences, it was possible to lay it out regularly. Its length from east to west is accurately determined by the fact that the Via Appia, which runs from north-west to south-east from Casilinum to Calatia, turns due east very soon after passing the so-called Arco di Adriano (a triumphal arch
Triumphal arch
A triumphal arch is a monumental structure in the shape of an archway with one or more arched passageways, often designed to span a road. In its simplest form a triumphal arch consists of two massive piers connected by an arch, crowned with a flat entablature or attic on which a statue might be...

 of brickwork, once faced with marble, with three openings, erected in honour of some emperor unknown), and continues to run in this direction for 1,600 m (6000 ancient Oscan feet).

The west gate was the Porta Romana; remains of the east gate (the name of which we do not know) have been found. This fact shows that the main street of the town was perfectly oriented, and that before the Via Appia was constructed, i.e. in all probability in pre-Roman times. The width of the town from north to south cannot be so accurately determined as the line of the north and south walls is not known, though it can be approximately fixed by the absence of tombs. Beloch fixes it at 4,000 Oscan feet = 1,100 m, nor is it absolutely certain (though it is in the highest degree probable, for Cicero
Cicero
Marcus Tullius Cicero , was a Roman philosopher, statesman, lawyer, political theorist, and Roman constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family of the equestrian order, and is widely considered one of Rome's greatest orators and prose stylists.He introduced the Romans to the chief...

 praises its regular arrangement and fine streets) that the plan of the town was rectangular.

Within the town are remains of public baths
Thermae
In ancient Rome, thermae and balnea were facilities for bathing...

 on the north of the Via Appia and of a theatre opposite, on the south. The former consisted of a large cryptoporticus round three sides of a court, the south side being open to the road; it now lies under the prisons. Beloch (see below) attributes this to the Oscan period; but the construction as shown in Labruzzi's drawing (v. 17) 1 is partly of brick-work and opus reticulatum, which may, of course, belong to a restoration. The stage of the theatre had its back to the road; Labruzzi (v. 18) gives an interesting view of the cavea. It appears from inscriptions that it was erected after the time of Augustus.

Other inscriptions, however, prove the existence of a theatre as early as 94 BC, so that the existence of another elsewhere must be assumed. We know that the Roman colony was divided into regions and possessed a capitolium, with a temple of Jupiter, within the town, and that the market-place, for unguents especially, was called Seplasia; we also hear of an aedes alba, probably the original senate house, which stood in an open space known as albana. But the sites of all these are quite uncertain. A Mithraeum
Mithraeum
A Mithraeum is a place of worship for the followers of the mystery religion of Mithraism.The Mithraeum was either an adapted natural cave or cavern or an artificial building imitating a cavern. Mithraea were dark and windowless, even if they were not actually in a subterranean space or in a natural...

 may also be seen, by appointment.http://www.culturacampania.rai.it/site/en-GB/Cultural_Heritage/Museums/Scheda/museo_archeologico_antica_capua_en.html?link=storia

Amphitheatre

Outside the town, in S. Maria Capua Vetere, there is the amphitheatre
Amphitheatre
An amphitheatre is an open-air venue used for entertainment and performances.There are two similar, but distinct, types of structure for which the word "amphitheatre" is used: Ancient Roman amphitheatres were large central performance spaces surrounded by ascending seating, and were commonly used...

, built in the time of Augustus
Augustus
Augustus ;23 September 63 BC – 19 August AD 14) is considered the first emperor of the Roman Empire, which he ruled alone from 27 BC until his death in 14 AD.The dates of his rule are contemporary dates; Augustus lived under two calendars, the Roman Republican until 45 BC, and the Julian...

, restored by Hadrian
Hadrian
Hadrian , was Roman Emperor from 117 to 138. He is best known for building Hadrian's Wall, which marked the northern limit of Roman Britain. In Rome, he re-built the Pantheon and constructed the Temple of Venus and Roma. In addition to being emperor, Hadrian was a humanist and was philhellene in...

 and dedicated by Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius
Antoninus Pius , also known as Antoninus, was Roman Emperor from 138 to 161. He was a member of the Nerva-Antonine dynasty and the Aurelii. He did not possess the sobriquet "Pius" until after his accession to the throne...

, as the inscription over the main entrance recorded. The exterior was formed by 80 Doric
Doric order
The Doric order was one of the three orders or organizational systems of ancient Greek or classical architecture; the other two canonical orders were the Ionic and the Corinthian.-History:...

 arcades of four stories each, but only two arches now remain. The keystones were adorned with heads of divinities.

The interior is better preserved; beneath the arena are subterranean passages like those in the amphitheatre at Puteoli. It is one of the largest in existence; the longer diameter is 170 m (185 yd), the shorter 140 m (152 yd), and the arena measures 75 by 45 m (83 by 49 yd), the corresponding dimensions in the Colosseum at Rome being 188, 155, 85, 53 m (205, 170, 93 and 58 yd).

To the east are considerable remains of baths — a large octagonal building, an apse against which the church of Santa Maria delle Grazie is built, and several heaps of debris. On the Via Appia, to the south-east of the east gate of the town, arc two large and well-preserved tombs of the Roman period, known as le Carceri vecchie and la Conocchia.

To the east of the amphitheatre an ancient road, the Via Dianae, leads north to the Pagus Dianae, on the west slopes of the Mons Tifata, a community which sprang up around the famous and ancient temple of Diana, and probably received an independent organization after the abolition of that of Capua in 211 BC. The place often served as a base for attacks on the latter, and Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla
Lucius Cornelius Sulla Felix , known commonly as Sulla, was a Roman general and statesman. He had the rare distinction of holding the office of consul twice, as well as that of dictator...

, after his defeat of Gaius Norbanus, gave the whole of the mountain to the temple.

Within the territory of the pagus were several other temples with their magistri. After the restoration of the community of Capua, we find magistri of the temple of Diana still existing, but they were probably officials of Capua itself.

The site is occupied by the Benedictine
Benedictine
Benedictine refers to the spirituality and consecrated life in accordance with the Rule of St Benedict, written by Benedict of Nursia in the sixth century for the cenobitic communities he founded in central Italy. The most notable of these is Monte Cassino, the first monastery founded by Benedict...

 church of San Michele Arcangelo in Sant'Angelo in Formis
Sant'Angelo in Formis
Sant'Angelo in Formis is an abbey in the municipality of Capua, southern Italy. The church, dedicated to St. Michael Archangel, lies on the westerns slopes of Monte Tifata....

. It dates from 944, and was reconstructed by the abbot Desiderius (afterwards Pope Victor III
Pope Victor III
Pope Blessed Victor III , born Daufer , Latinised Dauferius, was the Pope as the successor of Pope Gregory VII, yet his pontificate is far less impressive in history than his time as Desiderius, the great Abbot of Monte Cassino.-Early life and abbacy:He was born in 1026 or 1027 of a non-regnant...

) of Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino
Monte Cassino is a rocky hill about southeast of Rome, Italy, c. to the west of the town of Cassino and altitude. St. Benedict of Nursia established his first monastery, the source of the Benedictine Order, here around 529. It was the site of Battle of Monte Cassino in 1944...

. It has interesting paintings, dating from the end of the 11th century to the middle of the 12th, in which five different styles may be distinguished. They form a complete representation of all the chief episodes of the New Testament
New Testament
The New Testament is the second major division of the Christian biblical canon, the first such division being the much longer Old Testament....

. Deposits of votive objects (favissae), removed from the ancient temple from time to time as new ones came in and occupied all the available space, have been found, and considerable remains of buildings belonging to the Vicus Dianae (among them a triumphal arch and some baths, also a hail with frescoes, representing the goddess herself ready for the chase) still exist.

The ancient road from Capua went on beyond the Vicus Dianae to the Volturnus (remains of the bridge still exist) and then turned east along the river valley to Caiatia
Caiatia
Caiazzo is a city and comune in the province of Caserta in Italy. It is located on the right bank of the Volturnus, some 20 km north-east of Capua.- History :...

 and Telesia. Other roads ran to Puteoli and Cumae
Cumae
Cumae is an ancient Greek settlement lying to the northwest of Naples in the Italian region of Campania. Cumae was the first Greek colony on the mainland of Italy , and the seat of the Cumaean Sibyl...

 (the so-called Via Campana
Via Campana
The Via Campana was one of the main roads of the Roman Empire. It begins at the Flavian Amphitheatre at Pozzuoli and ran through several ancient craters, passing the town of Qualiano and ending at a junction with the via Appia at the town of Giugliano.Four kilometres from Pozzuoli it crosses the...

) and to Neapolis
Naples
Naples is a city in Southern Italy, situated on the country's west coast by the Gulf of Naples. Lying between two notable volcanic regions, Mount Vesuvius and the Phlegraean Fields, it is the capital of the region of Campania and of the province of Naples...

, and as we have seen the Via Appia passed through Capua, which was thus the most important road centre of Campania.

See also

  • History of Santa Maria Capua Vetere
  • Archdiocese of Capua
    Archdiocese of Capua
    The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Capua is an archdiocese of the Roman Catholic Church in Italy, but its archbishop no longer holds metropolitan rank and has no ecclesiastical province. Its see is in Capua, in Campania near Naples.-History:According to the tradition, Christianity was first...

  • Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli
    Seconda Università degli Studi di Napoli
    The Second University of Naples is a university located in Naples and Caserta, Italy. It was founded in 1991 and is organized into departments and Specialist Schools....


Sources and references


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